June 25, 2010

"I felt like a session man most of the time. Ray wanted complete control of everything. He was a control freak."

Said Pete Quaife, the bassist for one of the best bands ever, The Kinks. I've lifted that quote from what is, unfortunately, his obituary. He was 66.


sunsong said...


come dancing - one of my favs

Irene said...

This one comforted me through melancholy times.

Richard Dolan said...

Ann's music posts are often a walk down memory lane, inspired (as here) by an obituary. It's a tribute to the strength of the emotional bond that music forms when artist and listener really connect, and once formed, the bond endures for a lifetime. It happens a bit with the visual and plastic arts, too, but music is the paradigm for that connection.

El Pollo Real said...

An original Muswell Hillbilly.

sunsong said...

sunny afternoon

al said...

The Kinks were one of my favorite bands. Music seemed timeless. Rest in piece Pete.

virgil xenophon said...

In the 60s the exchange rate was the reverse of now (1$=2.82pounds) so British bands toured the US to make money and played clubs/small venues in the UK to keep their fan base. While in the USAF stationed at RAF Bentwaters/Woodbridge, Suffolk, East Anglia on the coast just north of London I caught the Kinks live at Felixstowe Pavillion, Felixstowe-by-the-sea. A smallish place about half the size of a HS gym with only about 300 people standing 4-5 deep around stage. They sold beer off card-tables in the back. Nice intimate setting w. GREAT music "up-close and personal." A great time to be alive as a single 24 yr-old fighter pilot during the "Swinging Sixties" in England when the women were willing and aids didn't exist! LOL!!!

Old Dad said...

I saw the Kinks in the mid 80's. They were fantastic and looked like they were having a great time.

Elliott A said...

It is kind of eye-opening to realize that all the energetic musicians of teh boomer's era have either passed on, or are old men and women. Paul Simon and Art garfunkel were in attendance at a Yankee game last week. When the camera showed them they just looked like two old guys until I recognized who they were. "How terribly strange to be 70."

Paul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Crack Emcee said...


"Funny how there's always some 'control freak' at the heart of everything great that ever gets accomplished."

You, kinda, beat me to it.

Paul Snively said...

I also wonder exactly what's wrong with being a session man? Don Henley and Glen Frey were session men. The entire Atlanta Rhythm Section were session men, hence the name. Good session men are highly sought-after... by name. It's not like being in the chorus in the school play, people.

jr565 said...

To quote a Kinks Song:
He's a session man
A chord progression,
A top musician.

He's not paid to think, just play,
A session man
A session man
A session man

Well hopefully, he had some more input into the Kinks, but I do know he left in the early 70's around the time that Ray got involved in Musical Theater type albums.

The Kinks are an interesting band. They went through a proto punk phase (You Really Got Me) then went into a sort of englis Retrospective phase (Village Green) followed by a bit of time in the musical desert with their various enlish music hall type concept albums, Followed by a return to glory in the late 70's with a return to straight on rock.

And in each phase they put out some truly classic stuff (and also a bit of junk).
Even in their worst phase you can still find some really good songs (Schooboys In Disgrace, on relisten actually has some really catchy songs for example).
Quiffe wasnt part of all of it, but he was part of the Kinks best moments and their highest glory.


Popville said...

As a kid in 1966 my favorite record cover was The Kinks Greatest Hits (Reprise 6127). Dressed in their Edwardian suits on what appears to be a TV set performing what I imagined to be "Who'll Be The Next In Line". The Kinks had only released 3 lps but already had a hits album.

The topper was Pete Quaife with his bass tucked up under his arm like a machine gun plucking the strings with his fingers. I perfected that stance in the fall of 1966, faring much better as a poseur than a not-so-budding bass player.

That cover: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2532/3823506538_f0b1215459_o.jpg

El Pollo Real said...

@Popville: your link


William said...

A lifetime of hearing bad jokes about vaginal farts drove him to an early grave. He goes now to a better place.

Issob Morocco said...

Hey Paul,

You can also find a lot of control freaks at the controls of things that did not go so great. Stalin, Lenin, Hitler, Mao, Ortega, Chavez, Mugabe etal being examples.

This axiom works both ways and is probably best summed up by where things occurred, a control freak was involved in some way or shape.

cathy said...

Probably true. It's not like they're a jam band or something.

The Crack Emcee said...

Issob Morocco,

"You can also find a lot of control freaks at the controls of things that did not go so great. Stalin, Lenin, Hitler, Mao, Ortega, Chavez, Mugabe etal being examples."

That has to be the greatest list of pop artists ever assembled.

PJ said...

Thank heaven Ray Davies was a control freak. Can you imagine what the Kinks would have been otherwise? RIP Pete.

mc said...

Thank you Anne, I learned here first and gave the heads up to a friend who looooooooved the Kinks.

I keep them on heavy rotation as well.


jr565 said...

Regarding the control freak in pop music thing:
The other members of CCR said the same thing about John Fogerty, that he was a control freak and there was a lot of rancor because he wouldn't let them sing their songs. on one album he relented and let the others write a bunch of songs. And it was the crappiest album CCR ever put out (except for the John Fogerty stuff natch).

Not a huge CCR fan, but its a good examplle of rock bands seeming to need one or two control freaks to get the ball rolling.

In another example, that supposedly belies this but actuallly reinforces it is the movie Purple Rain. Purple Rain is supposedly the fictionalized version of Prince;s story. In the movie Wendy & Lisa are pissed at the Prince character because he wont let them do their songs. He finally relent and they come up with Purple Rain which he sings and it's very successful, and all is well in Princeville. However, in REAL life, Prince was the writer of Purple Rain, and wouldn't let Wendy & Lisa write shit, which is why they left and formed their own band (where they wrote shit). Only in Hollywood does the control freak not control all aspects of the musical business. And usually when the control freak relents, bad art results.
Apparently, dictatorships work well when it comes to pop music.